Back in the year 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced various businesses to modify day-to-day operations and also adapt to start doing business primarily online. Those one-time “nice-to-dos” when it comes to online marketing became a necessity, as digital channels became the only way to stay in contact with customers and grow your business. Even as COVID vaccinations continue and we look ahead towards something resembling normal business operations, businesses that embrace a digital-first marketing strategy are the ones that are thriving in a transformed marketplace. We’ve spent the past couple of years working with small businesses to help them make the smartest use of digital marketing tools, so their businesses could thrive into the year mid-2021 and beyond.
Here are the top five lessons that small businesses should adapt to for the new marketing plan in the year 2021.
1.Health & safety are the first and foremost priorities.
Maintaining a safe and healthy environment at work is the topmost priority for all workplaces which rely on the hard work of both employees and also the management. When safety procedures and policies are operating effectively, and everyone is working together to minimize risk, the number of incidents in the workplace is greatly reduced. One of the fundamental skills of anyone responsible for employee safety management is the ability to connect and engage with all employees in order to promote safety and well-being. Ensuring that no overcrowding happens in the workplace is part of the safety protocol that every organization needs to follow. An effective queue management and order management system is essential for crowding control in retail and direct customer-facing businesses. Many businesses are quickly adopting these systems to keep the safety of their customers and their employees in the fore and protect them from contracting COVID.
2.Acceleration on the digital channels
The implications of COVID-19 have accelerated digital adoption. The increasing use of technology to work, play, and stay connected has shaped new digital habits. As many countries are currently in various stages of recovery, now is the time to reset, pivot, and think big to transform your business operations to match the new digital expectations that have emerged. Our focus is to help businesses understand evolving consumer needs, so they can prepare for the future and respond to signals of recovery, as and when they surface. While e-commerce has accelerated in adoption, retail isn’t the only area that has become more digitally focused for consumers throughout lockdown. Small manufacturing companies, service delivery-based businesses, professional consultants, restaurants, and several other business types are adopting digital solutions to make themselves ready for the new normal. Traditional sales and order management channels are making way to digital channels for good. This can be game-changers for businesses in terms of cost optimization and service efficiency.
3.Analyze the Current Trends
This is something retailers should always do, but it’s more important now than ever. Behaviors have changed rapidly and are continuing to do so. During the pandemic, buying behaviors ranged from panic buying to emotional buying. The faster you identify a trend, the faster you can adjust to keep revenue flowing. Consider investing in technology to make this task easier by providing you with insight into patterns that will help surface the areas that could become disrupted or might require more attention.
4.Look for more value from modern technological solutions
Traditional business scaling model is proven to be a failure during this pandemic. Customers are cautious and avoid stepping out of home unless necessary. This has led to reduced footfall in shopping malls and large retail shops. Services-based small businesses have also suffered during this pandemic-induced lock-down. Businesses have to realize that COVID-19 is here to stay and we have to learn to live with the pandemic. The question boils down to what approach should be adopted to keep businesses running even in this pandemic.
As an English proverbial phrase says “if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain”. This is exactly the approach adopted by the agile business community. As per a study conducted by Forbes, establishing an online catalog and home delivery of products have ballooned in this pandemic. If we go by the revenue increase of large grocery eCommerce companies, it is evident that customer preferences are changing and moving towards eCommerce. Some of these online eCommerce companies have recorded more than 100% growth in revenue when many traditional businesses had to shutter their shops. We can infer that the future of business is moving towards e-commerce and, more precisely, m-commerce or mobile-based eCommerce businesses.
- E-commerce has become a major part of modern consumerism.
- Providing more authentic mobile applications, marketing techniques, using social media marketing to a greater degree, and creating an engaging user experience are among the key trends to be aware of – and use – in 2021.
- Be sure to understand which trends provide the greatest benefit to you, as well as which trends you should avoid based on your business.
5.Create an E-commerce application.
Due to the current pandemic, all businesses are struggling. Each business needs to be sustained in the situation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in this scenario. Every business needs a carefully thought-through plan to be successful in these difficult times. However, one thing is for sure. E-commerce is the future. It’s of foremost importance to provide an online sales channel to be relevant in business. Competing with large cash-rich online businesses has become quite a challenge for small neighborhood businesses as these large companies have started tapping into their localized customer base. It is time that they stand up to the challenge and create an online store where they can list their products and services and attract customers. Local businesses can improve their sales and help sustain themselves by effective use of e-commerce mobile applications rather than surrendering to the pressure created by large e-commerce businesses. The game is not won after just creating an eCommerce application. It’s a long game. The digital world is moving at a fast pace. Customers need the latest products delivered with best in class experience. Keeping your eCommerce applications updated regularly to provide the latest features and great customer experience is essential to be in the game.
6.Plan your supply chain and service delivery to customers
Supply chain disruptions can greatly impact your ability to do business. Delivery of goods and services from other areas severely affected by COVID-19 may be delayed or canceled with or without notice. This could greatly affect your own ability to run your business, even if you live in an area that is not affected by COVID-19. It is imperative that you identify alternate sources of supply that can be activated at short notice. Talk to your suppliers to understand their preparedness to meet any eventualities due to the pandemic. Continued business operation requires the preparation of a service delivery plan for delivering your products or services to your customers in line with the government regulations and keeping customers’ interests in mind. This includes timing adjustment, working with reduced employee strength, and training staff on no-contact deliveries. Restaurants and cloud kitchens need to introduce safe cooking methods to ensure high safety standards. Making customers aware of the safety procedures that are in place to ensure a safe service delivery will boost customer confidence in doing business with you.
While the pandemic has created a lot of commotion and difficulties in businesses across the world, the good news is that we can see some light coming from the end of the tunnel. This does not necessarily mean the end of the pandemic. However, large scale vaccination campaigns, effective pandemic control procedures, scientific advancement, and knowledge gained out of continuous research and social awareness are bringing the pandemic under control. Now it is the time to open up the business. Learn lessons from the pandemic and be ready for the future.